It was a different start to the 2018 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational tournament as news broke that Jarrod Lyle had just started palliative care after trying to fight acute myeloid leukemia for the third time. A few of the players past and present broke down in disbelief as they heard the news of his brave fight against leukemia.
The winner of this year's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Justin Thomas, tried to get Jarrod Lyle's famous yellow bucket hats so that the golfers could wear them for the tournament but unfortunately the logistics made it difficult to achieve.
So lead by Justin Thomas and Tiger Woods, players at the event wore a yellow ribbon to show support for Jarrod Lyle and his family that all the players were behind him.
"This win, and this week, was definitely for Jarrod," Thomas said.
"I wanted that yellow hat and I asked (equipment manufacturer Titleist) if we could get some, but everything in stock was sent to Jarrod (in Australia), which is understandable.
"But I was glad we could get the yellow ribbons to show some appreciation."
Thomas secured his third victory of the year by winning the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational by four shots and his first WGC event.
"I got a little choked up when I looked over and saw my grandpa and grandma," Thomas said.
"This is my first PGA Tour win with him here and it's really special.
"My grandpa is not emotional, but I hadn't seen him smile or be that happy, maybe ever."
"To win on a championship golf course like (Firestone) and against a very tough field, it just felt great," he said.
In the end Thomas never let anyone get closer than 2 shots but had a few charge up the leaderboard.
Coming off a win in Canada last week, Dustin Johnson started 10 shots behind the leader but made a move with 4 birdies in the first 4 holes and turn the nine with a 29. In the end he got within three shots of the lead but was too far back and finished with a solid 64.
Thomas only need 2 birdies the whole day as playing partner Rory McIlroy, good friend Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm, Marc Leishman and Ian Poulter were all leaking shots and going backwards.
Only Kyle Stanley and Jason Day put on some type of challenge on the back nine as Stanley birdied the 10th and 12th and Day birdied 10, 11 and 12 but could only get within 2 of Thomas.
In the end Day faded and Stanley took home second.
“When Jason got within two I thought we can’t make a mistake now,” caddie Jimmy Johnson said of Thomas’ chances.
“When Jason bogeyed 13 and we birdied it I thought if we just hit very green we will be fine,” Johnson added.
Thomas said “That birdie there was huge to kind of separate it, and then Jason made a couple bogeys and we were able to coast coming in.”
“I take a lot of pride in how I played today,” Thomas added.
“I was very nervous going into today. I think that you kind of get that two, three, four shot lead, it's just different than one.
“With a three‑shot lead you kind of have a little bit of wiggle room and you feel like you maybe play a little too conservative, but I was able to kind of dwell on past learning experiences and you always try to get it higher.
“I was trying to get it to 18 under because I knew if I got to that, I didn't really think anybody could catch me.
“I played well enough to do that, I just didn't really make any putts today, but I just kept hitting green after green. And if I hit missed the fairway, I was putting it on the correct side of the rough so I was able to have an angle into the green. We just kind of plotted our day around.”
This was Thomas's ninth PGA Tour victory and is second in the world rankings and FedExCup standings behind Dustin Johnson.
WHAT'S IN JUSTIN THOMAS' TITLEIST BAG?
TITLEIST TOUR REP J.J. VanWEZENBEECK ON JUSTIN THOMAS TESTING NEW TS DRIVERS:
- Pro V1x golf ball
- TS3 (9.5) driver
- TS3 (15.0) fairway metal
- 915Fd (18.0) fairway metal
- 718 AP2 4-iron
- 718 MB (5-9) irons
- Vokey Design SM6 pitching (46), SM5 gap (52), SM6 sand (56) and lob (60) wedges
- Scotty Cameron X5 putter
"JT was one of the early testers in the development of the TS. He was excited from the get go and provided feedback throughout the development process. During a fitting in May prior to The PLAYERS, we found the TS3 9.5 gave him better ball speeds, with excellent launch to spin ratio, and preferred sound, feel, and look. He practiced with it over the next few weeks and put in at the US Open, the first week it was available for competition. At the Open Championship, Justin had his shaft shortened an 1/8” to help with centering the hit and maximizing control with the higher ball speeds seen with TS."
QUOTING JUSTIN THOMAS ON THE NEW TS DRIVER:
"It was very easy to transition, as it always is. The new TS driver was instantly faster off the club and I was able to get a few more yards carry when needed. More importantly for me, my spin numbers were more consistent therefore it has helped me drive the ball much better. The fairway metal too has gone up in spin to give me control and can easily fly it 280-285 off the tee if needed. Which is such a great asset and club to have."